2015 Obsidian Ridge "Eleven Rows" Petite Sirah
Our first-ever offering of “Eleven Rows” Petite Sirah is a beast of a wine! Colored like the obsidian rocks in which the fruit is grown, the wine smells like the extract of dark cherries and the juice of fresh blackberries picked straight off the bush. While weighty and intense, the wine has a smooth texture and a balanced acidity. At this stage, the wine is youthful, packed with flavors —including fresh blackberries laced with cool mint and cinnamon spice— that are sure to evolve nicely in the bottle for years to come.
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640' atop the Mayacamas range north of the Napa Valley. This is one of the newest American Viticultural Areas, named Red Hills Lake County for the distinctive volcanic soils that define this remarkable mountain appellation. The vineyard’s red soils are shot through with obsidian rock — this steep, sloping terroir of obsidian gravel is all that a winemaker could hope for. The unrestricted drainage and meager soil fertility produce wines with great tannic structure.
This harvest was especially memorable in the Red Hills at our Obsidian Ridge Vineyard. The "Valley Fire”, which scorched the earth across 76,000+ acres, actually began only a few miles south of our vineyard in the town of Cobb. Adding to the drama was the fact that the day of the fire coincided with our first day of harvest. We were able to get our first load safely down the mountain, but because of the extent of the blaze, we were not permitted to reenter for days. It was a nail-biting period, rampant with phone calls between the fire authorities, our vineyard managers and the winery to try and assess which way the wind was blowing. Days later, when we finally got a call from the county authorities that we could reenter escorted, we found that we were upwind of any and all smoke and fire. Our vineyards were unscathed. Cool temperatures and an unusual strong rainfall a week later helped the valiant firefighters gain the upper hand on the flames, allowing us to experience a very high quality wine harvest amidst the environmental and human toll that the fire had taken on the surrounding area.
Our tiny parcel of 11 rows of Petite Sirah was harvested and vinified separately in a small tank. Since the young wine colors up easily, we kept the wine on skins for only a short amount of time. We then pressed the young wine and placed it into our signature Kadar barrels. We use a smaller percentage of new barrels since this varietal has so much going on by itself; 25% new barrels adds just enough spice.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker